Harrisburg, Pa. - In a historic move, the Pennsylvania State System Board of Governors decided to freeze basic in-state tuition for the third year in a row by unanimous vote. Locally, the tuition freeze affects Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield Universities.
The Board’s decision keeps basic in-state tuition for undergraduate students in the 2021-22 academic year locked at $7,716. The $478 technology fee for students will also remain locked for the academic year.
“I am proud to join my fellow Board members in prioritizing an accessible, affordable public higher education for our students,” said Cindy Shapira, chair of the Board of Governors. “A quality education and an affordable one go hand-in- hand at our universities. Students deserve our full support as they continue focusing on attaining a degree through the pandemic.”
Never before has the State System kept year-to-year basic in-state tuition the same for three years, something Chancellor Greenstein pointed to as essential to fulfilling public higher education’s mission.
“Sixty percent of jobs in Pennsylvania require a post-secondary degree, but only 47 percent of Pennsylvanians have one,” he said. “To help Pennsylvania build a modern-day economy, to remain a reliable pathway for students into and beyond the middle class, to ensure every Pennsylvanian who wants can access a quality higher education, we must take bold action like today’s vote on tuition.”
“On behalf of our students and their families, I want to publicly thank the Board of Governors for this in-state tuition freeze,” said Bloomsburg University President Bashar Hanna. “In these uncertain economic times due to the ongoing pandemic, it is imperative that we do all we can to keep higher education affordable for our students.”
"Providing affordable and accessible higher education is one of the important roles that Mansfield University serves in the Northern Tier," said Dr. Charles Patterson, President of Mansfield University. "Freezing tuition for a third straight year is a commitment to students and their families towards maintaining pathways to a successful life and career through high-quality, affordable education."
The Board also voted unanimously in approval of a statement of commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI): “Ensuring the entire State System operates from a foundation of values” where the success of students, faculty, and staff are supported, universities are places where human dignity is never compromised, and ensuring the race and ethnicities of the entire System “reflect the diverse composition” of Pennsylvania.
“This is arguably the most important thing we will do because it so deeply affects the success of our students, our faculty, our staff, indeed our entire system,” said Shapira. “Our institutions have been working hard for decades to make their campuses more inclusive and diverse places to learn, live, and work, but until recently, we have not been in a position to truly leverage the power of being a system in order to advance DEI efforts farther and faster.”
“Bloomsburg University is committed to fostering an equitable, inclusive, and welcoming environment in which students, faculty, and staff from differing backgrounds can grow together as one community,” said Hanna. “By listening and learning from one another and celebrating the diversity within our community, we have an incredible opportunity to leave our marks on the history of this institution that will benefit future generations of students, faculty, and staff.”
The board’s DEI statement was the work product of the Board’s commission on diversity, equity, and inclusion that delivered a report outlining a range of recommendations for supporting DEI at every campus, in the Office of the Chancellor, and at the Board level. The Board also affirmed a new DEI strategy with priorities and actions related to: addressing racial harassment and racist speech on campus; recruiting, nurturing, and retaining students, faculty and staff of color; enhancing mental health resources for all students; improving equity outcomes for all students; creating more inclusive communities; diversifying the curriculum; building a supportive infrastructure; and providing resources for all of these efforts.
“We must continue to look at every aspect and in every corner of the System, from our academic programming to our student cohort to the campus cultures we cultivate,” Greenstein said. “We are the state’s public higher education system, and as such, every student and employee—regardless of background—must feel welcomed and their success supported. We will hold ourselves accountable and ask the public to hold us accountable for living up to our ideals and values.”